San Francisco Unified School District established its LGBTQ Student Services program in 1991. (Screenshot)

San Francisco Unified School District established its LGBTQ Student Services program in 1991. (Screenshot)

SFUSD Pride observances include virtual events this year

Creating supportive environments for LGBTQ+ students in focus even with distance learning

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It’s no secret that San Francisco is a leader in celebrating diversity, and our schools have also been nationwide leaders in affirming the rights of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning students.

The San Francisco Unified School District is proud to honor the members of our LGBTQ community in celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month in April. As we live through a pandemic and social protests against continued violence against Black, Brown and Asian American and Pacific Islander youth and adults, we remember that the first Pride events were uprisings.

This work takes place all throughout the year and has been the mission of SFUSD’s LGBTQ Student Services (part of the Student Family Services Division) for over 30 years since 1991, aiming to support educators with tools and resources to support LGBTQ students and families. The work prioritizes rebuilding social relationships among students, families, schools, and communities more broadly.

A highlight of LGBTQ Student Services is the Queer and Trans Advisory Council, a space designed for LGBTQ+ high school student leaders from across SFUSD to step more fully into their leadership. In QTAC, students advise staff on how the district can best support LGBTQ students even through distance learning.

Pride this year means we are celebrating virtually with small student groups, like GSAs (Gay Straight Alliances) and QGroups, virtual bulletin boards, interactive slide decks, and read alouds. We continue our efforts to create affirming learning environments where every student is supported in learning to the best of their abilities.

A QTAC student leader from Thurgood Marshall High reminds us: “It is especially important during this pandemic because most teens are living in an environment that may not be the most welcoming, and by making sure that every LGBTQ+ student is celebrated, we can show them that there is still support outside of their environment.”

The voices of our students lead the way as a reminder to us, that while the pandemic has been challenging, we can — and are — celebrating our LGBTQ students and community members this year too.

Congratulations to SFUSD’s LGBTQ Student Services on 30 years of providing support for our LGBTQ school communities!

Vincent Matthews is superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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